Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own


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Spaghetti alle Vongole – Spaghetti with Clams

I can’t wait for the soup season (I mean, autumn) to start! But there are still a few weeks of summer left where I live and although I’m anxious to start wearing jackets, boots and to throw a duvet over my sheets I’m trying to fully enjoy these last warm days. And I certainly do, with the same anticipation I start  savouring a trip when preparing it!

Last weekend while shopping for groceries, we decided we wanted pasta for dinner (I know, carbs for supper! who does that nowadays? well… we do sometimes… uppsss) and in a sudden inspiration strike I remembered I had frozen clams and Spaghetti alle Vongole immediately came to my mind!

Like many others of Italian pasta dishes the sauce is actually simple both by its preparation and number of ingredients but the flavour resulting by its combination is supreme! And this was indeed the case, we loved them!

I added my own twist by changing the fresh parsley traditionally used in this recipe by fresh basil; mainly because there was no parsley left at the supermarket and I had a pair of basil plants thriving on my balcony.

I encourage you to try it, this is one of those easy but success-guaranteed recipes that I use either when entertaining or just to indulge myself with something extremely yummy but not decadent.

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Moroccan Bruschetta with Basil and Goat Cheese

I know, I know Bruschetta is Italian, so why Moroccan Bruschetta? Well because I made this one with Moroccan bread. Moroccan bread is a flat circular loaf of white bread, with a golden crust on the outside and a yellowish fluffy interior, it is delicious, I love it! I think part of its secret lies in the semolina on its composition making its flavour quite unique. There’s a local shop near my house that sells it fresh every day, so I usually keep a loaf on my fridge for many uses: breakfasts, meals, it even serves as a base for pizza (opened into two halves)!

A couple of weekends ago, we were on lazy mode and haven’t planned anything for lunch, so we simply took two slices of this wonderful bread and decided to turn them into fabulous Bruschettas, with a little help from the basil plants I grow on my balcony, that I’m today sharing with you!

It is simple, quick, delicious and frugal. Ideal for a summer (vegetarian) lunch or a great appetiser all year round! Leave the cheese out of the equation and you’ll have a perfect vegan snack!

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Pesto alla Genovese – A Legendary Italian Sauce

I’ve always loved pesto, but I didn’t use to make it at home. I usually ate it at restaurants or (I confess) used jar bought pesto. Although I was totally aware of what I was missing, I don’t know why, I never decided to prepare it at home. That was until a few weeks ago, when I saw a beautiful fragrant bunch of basil at the supermarket and have a pesto epiphany!

I did some research and having no family or friends secrets and tricks, I followed the official recipe approved by the Consorzio del Pesto Genovese (Genovese Pesto Consortium) to begin with. The homemade version turned out to be one of those things in life that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never be able to settle for anything less.

This sauce is so healthy, fresh, fragrant, simple and yet delicious that I’ll keep preparing it and further experiment with it for sure. It’s also very versatile: it can be served with pasta, vegetables, meats and anything else you can imagine.

Apart from the good quality supplies, the key to this recipe is the use of a mortar and pestle. Pesto has to be prepared using these utensils, since a blender will heat the mixture, ruining it. The ideal would be to use a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. I don’t have a marble mortar, but as in any other Catalonian household, I do have a ceramic mortar with its wooden pestle to prepare all-i-oli (Catalonian garlic and olive oil sauce), which I don’t, but inherited the utensils nevertheless.

And… if you happen to be angry or frustrated  about any issue, using the mortar and pestle is a great, cheap and harmless therapy, so prepare your wrist and let’s begin!

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